By Jairo Rodrigues
Big is definitely beautiful and Michon Sukhoo-Pertab, the first ever Ms Plus-Size Queen is the perfect model. “Once there is something within you to shine, you need to use it and not hide it or feel ashamed. People around you need to respect that and appreciate your beauty,” she said when asked to comment on being the icon of Guyanese plus-size women.
The Ms Guyana Plus-size Pageant was held on May 27. Michon described it as “long awaited”; she further explained that plus-sized girls have something to say. “We are a brand, a beautiful momentum that needs to be portrayed. I was confident enough; I knew I had a lot to offer and to showcase.”
Commenting about the production of the pageant, she said “This is the first ever Miss Guyana Plus and within the short time the organizers and committee members did a fantastic job. There is always room for improvement, and we set a standard this year, so the next [time around] will be better.”
Asked about the experience and how she coped with other contestants, she stated that no other competition can unite a group of women like a pageant can. “We got really close. The competition united girls from all sorts of different backgrounds – from a confidential secretary to a journalist, different contributions and perspective unified.”
Pamela Dillon and Marvin Gravesande Pearce were the trainers of the pageant and Michon said she was eternally grateful to them for their lessons as they are priceless. “It was indeed an adventure, different personalities and backgrounds fused together and in the end sisters forever. I fondly remember an evening where we were all disappointed not getting to do a television show and we were all dressed up and to bring smiles to our faces we went out instead and enjoyed each other’s company….”
She describes herself as a “town girl” born, raised and living in Alberttown, Georgetown for the past 25 years. Both her parents are from the Cinderella County: Essequibo and she would often spend Easter, August and Christmas holidays there.
Her primary education was attained from the St Gabriel’s Primary School. She was never the sporty child in school, but would take part in other extra curriculum activities; she took this mentality all the way to high school.
She graduated from St Stanislaus College in 2006 where she completed CSEC, CAPE and GCE ‘A’ levels. She then went on to the University of Guyana thereafter to do her degree in Medicine & Surgery (MBBS), and is currently in her fourth year to graduate in 2013.
She thanks and praises God for her blessed life and her wonderful family. She said she comes from a home of discipline and love; her parents are very cultured and traditional people. She has four siblings (3 sisters and 1 brother) who she said are all loving and supportive of one another. Out of the five of siblings, three including her, were born one year apart and were always childhood playmates. Today the three are studying medicine and will graduate in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively from the University of Guyana.
When asked what inspired her to study medicine she said her parents always advised her to get into a “grounded universal career” where she can get a job anywhere in the world and that is always needed. Along with her parents’ motivation, she had past experiences as a patient — with chronic asthmatic problems and she liked the experience of being in both the United States and Guyana’s healthcare systems. “Even though we as a nation lack the resources, we make up for it by the way we care and communicate with patients. The healthcare system has always been comforting and supportive to my family.”
She described her field of study as one where it is necessary to stay focused, highly disciplined and dedicated. “Time management is essential and you have to love a lot of reading. Medicine is not written in stone; you have to be updated as medicine continuously advances,” she added.
She draws her inspiration from the fact that her mother was always a very industrious woman at home. “She was the manager of everything; she was an economist, auditor, chef. She herself is strength and because of that today she is a proud mother.”
Michon is no strange face to pageantry and fashion. She has spent years participating in fashion shows, modellingas a volunteer for church fundraisers, tea parties, school concerts and so on. She competed in the 2001 Miss Guyana Talented Teen where she was awarded prizes for the Best Smile, Most Improved Delegate and Best Ballroom Dancer. She adds to her experience the 2005 Ms Mother & Daughter Pageant, 2010 Guyana Model Search & Designers Portfolio and Guyana Fashion Weekend, 2011 Guyana Fashion Weekend and finally winning the 2012 Ms Guyana plus-Size Pageant.
When asked about her manifesto during her one-year reign she said, “We often like to think big, but with my year as queen I will keep it simple and set goals that are attainable. It is my hope to do inspirational campaigns and workshops for girls in Guyana with body image issues. I am hoping to be their role model. Confucius once said ‘Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it’ and I want girls to be able to recognise beauty in all its Godly forms. I am calling on governmental and non-governmental organisations to aid me in my venture to make a change and bring positivity in our young women’s lives.”
In order to inspire the generation of plus-size women and comfort children who suffer from ridicule because of their weight, Michon said “I plan to use my reign in order to motivate my fellow people; we are not different but unique and wonderful. I plan on encouraging the girls and adolescents to appreciate and showcase their beauty.”
Michon is determined to place Guyana on the map by winning the Ms Plus Caribbean Universe Pageant set for Barbados on August 19. She hopes the nation looks at the pageant in a positive way. She has a team working with her on her talent, outfit and other supporting themes for the regional competition. When asked how she feels about the term ‘Plus-size’ she noted: “I am proud of the term, that’s my brand. If the world wants to class me into that name then that’s my power and I’m no different from anyone else.” She further explained that in the world of pageantry and fashion, anything outside of a size 4 constitutes as plus-size, so in a way 2/3 of the world’s population would be plus-sized.
Ms Plus-size Guyana mentioned that during the Ms Guyana Talented Teen Pageant in 2001 she was on the Atkins Diet but she found it very uncomfortable. “It wasn’t me; that person just wasn’t me and I didn’t feel happy. After the pageant, I ended the diet and was free and happy again. This time I didn’t need to go on a diet,” she added. She continued to say that she keeps in shape by eating healthy and doing regular exercise to manage and maintain her weight. “It’s all about keeping your metabolism going, you don’t have to push yourself, you just need to keep going and not end up sluggish.”
After graduating and completing her internship, Michon hopes to do her residency in general surgery.
She also hopes to join the Simpli Royal House of Beauties to aid in the development of pageantry in Guyana. “Many may not see the benefits of a pageant but it is means of branding your country for tourism purposes therefore bettering our economy, in addition creating well rounded young women.” She noted, “I will not just be a beauty but the brains my fellow Guyanese need!”
The Scene did not have the opportunity to ask Michon about the claims that the pageant might have been tilted in her favour, since she was named Guyana’s entrant to the international pageant since February. However, we contacted pageant producer Pam Dillon, who explained that when Guyana was first invited, the event was to have been held early this year and she had nominated Michon as she did not plan to hold a pageant here. After the international event was postponed several times, Michon opted out. When the event was firmly fixed again for August, the organisers contacted Pamela again and she decided to hold a pageant. She informed Michon, who then decided that she would participate.